Noel Ellis's Official Blog

I wield the pen to explore the vastness of the human mind

BOIL IN THE BLOOD

As per Wikipedia, Shri Rajput Karni Sena (SRKS) is a Rajput caste organisation founded in 2006,based in Sikar, Rajasthan. Their association favours” national unity” and is opposed to caste-centric positive discrimination and “corruption”. They feel hurt about this movie but all those who have been shown the movie are dead sure that no sentiments of “the clan” have been hurt, then why is there such a hullabaloo about it.

Let me think of solutions to this issue without hurting anyone’s sentiments. Mr Bhansali, the Karni Sena has decided to be adamant, so I can only request you to be more giving in this case. You have two choices, one, show this movie free of cost to all those who have an objection to it. Now, will Karni Sena ensure that people like me who are nowhere connected to the clan, don’t get an entry to the cinema halls for a free show? The date, time and venues can be mutually decided for screening. If this movie is acceptable, go ahead and release it. I can assure you, today, people like me who detest watching Hindi cinema are waiting for it to be released. I will definitely watch it.

Second, you just cold store this film and go ahead and work on your next venture. I know the loss you will incur will be in crores. I have no idea of what even one crore looks like but my suggestion is for your health, wealth and future. Let it be considered as a business loss and instead of going on an offensive, just go neutral that you never made this movie. I know, you, the actors and the crew would be heartbroken but life and limb is more precious. It is difficult to stay with the sword of Damocles hanging over your neck. It is better to let go your ego to satisfy someone else’s to maintain calm. This is not an Indo-Pak war after all.

What I am gathering from all media discussions, which I am actually fed up of by now, I know the complete story line of the movie. Like, when a friend of yours has already seen the movie and discusses it to irritate you like hell knowing you haven’t watched it. The plot is revealed, the thrill goes missing, the suspense is open, who did what and where in the movie with expert comments kills the curiosity. One doesn’t know whether to slap your friend or applaud the actors or the film maker as now my friend called the media has given away your movie reel by reel & foot by foot. I still promise to see it.

I think Mr Bhansali you made a promise to these people that you will give some of them a free show before you decide to release it. Did you break your promise? Rajput blood is all about promises. They are “Zubaan ke pakke”. Ek bar bol diya so patthar par lakeer ho gayi. (Once they commit it is like engraving a line on stone). Now that you have supposedly hurt their sentiment not by making the movie but by not sticking to your promise of screening it for them, the consequences are that one nose and one head is under threat. Will it be prudent to lose them for this word called “ego”?

I would go a step further by suggesting that you take a call now, that this movie will never be released. History will get it released one day. Poor MF Hussain lived a life in exile for a stroke of his brush. Whose loss was it? Your movie making skills are beyond compare, I have seen a few. If Ego is the issue then let go for the time being. Be rest assured Mr Bhansali, you will be a winner one day.

I do not know how much of politics is involved in this. The winds which are blowing are indicative that this “AKROSH” (outrage) is reeking of election fever. If it is true then it is a sad day for our democracy. If a clan is what we are going to ask votes from then we need to rethink our constitution and democracy.

Dear people, if your blood is so much on the boil please join the Armed Forces. We too carry swords. By the way we have a Regiment dedicated to Rajputs in our Army. Requirement will be to be physically fit, mentally alert and morally straight. We will give you Pakistan and their terror factories. You can practice your carving skills there. Will my logic make sense or shall I wait for a threat to my ears, nose and throat. I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

RUMOUR (AFWAH)

As usual after dinner I sat down to scan news channels. I landed up with Mr Rajat Sharma explaining his views on the movie controversy. Well, I am sure he laid to rest all rumors, propaganda and whispering campaigns to rest. Hope Padmavati turns out to be a block buster. I rarely watch Hindi movies but this one I definitely will.

Be that as it may, I being from Rajasthan and served there extensively understand the feelings of our brethren and their rage to tear apart the world for the insult they perceive has been done to their pride and valour as also to the rich traditions of their clan. I have heard of many heads being chopped off in the years of yore for AAN, BAAN & SHAN. Hope now things will cool down. Let us leave Deepika’s nose and Bhansali’s head for the time being.

I sat down to research these words on the net and this is what I found. A rumor or rumour (spelling differs between American and British English) is viewed as “an unverified account or explanation of events circulating from person to person and pertaining to an object, event, or issue in public concern”. Rumour is a kind of propaganda which refers “solely to the control of opinion by significant symbols, or, to speak more concretely and less accurately by stories, reports, pictures, and other forms of social communication”. Rumors are also often discussed with regard to “misinformation” and “disinformation”. Rumors can be created and planted by nearly anybody, require limited resources, can be deadly for those in its direct path, and can instilL fear. Controversy on Padmavati falls aptly into all these slots is my view.

Basic characteristics that apply to rumour are; One, they are transmitted by word of mouth. Two, they provide “information” about a “person, happening, or condition and three, they express and gratify “the emotional needs of the community”.

Someone divided rumors into three types:

  1. Pipe dream rumors: reflect public desires and wished-for outcomes. (Achhe din) (Pun intended)
  2. Bogie or fear rumors: reflect feared outcomes. (You will go to hell if you don’t pray and don’t do abc).
  3. Wedge-driving rumors: intend to undermine group loyalty or interpersonal relations (The Hindu-Muslim riots are fuelled by these types of rumors)

Propaganda on the other hand is neutrally defined as a systematic form of purposeful persuasion that attempts to influence the emotions, attitudes, opinions, and actions of specified target audiences for ideological, political or commercial purposes through the controlled transmission of one-sided messages (which may or may not be factual) via mass and media channels. A propaganda organization employs propagandists who engage in propagandism.

In addition, there is something called a “smear campaign”. It is a term that loosely means a coordinated effort to attack a person’s character. Some people term it as an IED (Improvised Explosive Device). Rumors, as IEDs, are low-cost, low-tech communication weapons that can be used by anyone to disrupt the efforts of communication, civil affairs or outreach campaigns such as those undertaken by governments in crisis response situations or militaries in insurgencies. Well, history of India has umpteen examples of it.

One must understand that to spread rumors you require rumor mongers. These people now have the modern tools of sms, face book, twitter and other social media to spread the word faster and create far reaching results as happened in the Padmavati case I suppose.

In the Army, we had posters displayed in our offices saying do not spread rumors and we used to encourage our men to come and speak to us if they heard anything abnormal. Rumors need not be military in nature; they could do with some event happening back home. It was our moral duty to educate our men and their families not to drift away by such sayings and believe in the systems which existed thus we could control all sorts of panic, both in the battle field and in peace by curbing and controlling spread of rumors. I still remember anonymous complaints were never taken any cognisance of as many used to be planted stories.

Suffice to say AFWAH FAILANA and KAAN KA KACHHA HONA are different sides of the same coin and both need to be curbed. One must see for oneself, hear it from the horse’s mouth, understand the ground situation, weigh the pros and cons, believe in your training, have faith in your systems and God and then only react, rather than intimidate fellow citizens who are artistes and creative personalities by profession. Hope by now the boil in the blood would have subsided or will we have another rumor being spread for something else soon? I wonder!!!!!!

JAI HIND

BITTER SWEET

This morning, to catch up with what is happening in the world I put on news and was taken aback to hear that West Bengal went to war with Odisha. Last many years they had been fighting and now as usual our courts intervened and pronounced the judgement in favour of Bengal. Thank God no blood was spilled, however lots of “Chaashni” (sugar syrup) flowed down into the Bay of Bengal in these years. Yes friends, finally the courts have decided that the “Rosogoola” was invented in Bengal. The whole of Bengal went into celebration mode and threw these white, fluffy, sweet, round balls of flavour at each other. Finally, this epic battle came to an end.

Is this what we have come to? Is this the only thing left with for the courts to decide? I sincerely pray to all the judiciary that please if you have such cases just throw the files out of the window. I am sure you have better things to do. I am a little perturbed as to who will now file a case for the Gulab Jamun. I am not sure whether such cases should be accepted by the courts, leave alone states fighting to claim a sweet. The river waters flow from state to state, the lands are demarcated, languages across states are common, wind doesn’t differentiate boundaries, crop pattern is the same then why this fight over who invented a rosogoola of all the things.

I was imagining a scene where our dear Didi would be standing in court in one witness box and Mr Naveen Patnaik in the other trying to defend his claim. Judge being our own from the movie Johnny LLB, Saurab Shukla. Didi must have had Arshad Warsi on her side who would have gone deep into the case to the real origin of the place where the sweet would have been conceived, including producing the most secret and ancient recipe which would have been written ages ago in the script which would need deciphering from the scriptures. That would have been the most clinching evidence produced to nail the case.

The judge would have been waiting for him to produce this evidence in court for the “devil in white” to make an appearance due to which this battle started. At last with dripping hands in the slurpy sugary syrup he would have dug his teeth into it. The sense of ecstasy which would have appeared in his eyes and expression would have helped him finally make this decision that the rosogoola belongs to Bengal. To be eaten by everyone till death and then broken the nib of his pen.

Let the best rosogoola win is my contention. With passage of time, as diabetes is becoming a menace for all sugar related issues, I think we should get over with the fight for this sugar drenched roundels. It should not be a matter of concern who invented them or where they originated. The matter should be that how best without causing any diseases this item should grace the menu at various functions. People praising its softness and the quality of it to melt in the mouth should be more important. The courts should have never come in but then who would have decide the actual winner. I am sure the judges would have got tons of them from Bengal complimentary.

I am also not sure if some other country may have already patented the sweet which may cause more bitterness to the taste of this traditional Indian Mithaae. The odishaiets will not leave this here. I expect this battle to go up to the highest court and may go in for an appeal to the President of India. Had it been the previous president, the ruling would have been in favour of Bengal again. Obviously, Pranab da cannot be unfair to the land of his origin.

I have never researched the subject of sweets. It would not be out of place to find out about the other Indian sweets like the ladoo. Who claims to be the originator of ladoo? Who has the patent, I do not know and similarly for my favourite besan ki burfi? Gajjar ka halwa won’t be a bad bet to check for either. I hope we don’t land up in another Indo- Pak like conflict over this, if Pak claims the origins of halwas and pinnis is from their country, India might go to the UN.

Let me not conjecture too much but I feel that there has to be a limit to all this nonsense where states are going to courts for trivial issues which should not waste even one minute of any court in India. The numbers of pending cases are already piling up and here we find that a sweet has created bitterness out of a non issue. Tomorrow someone comes and claims that Agra ka petha originated in China, it would be a nuclear explosion of kinds.

Be that as it may, will my craving for sweets and especially Rosogoola ever subside, I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

FILTERING DELHI SMOG

Invisibility is increasing or is it visibility is decreasing is the state of affairs of our National Capital. As they say every person has a fixed number of breaths in his life time, when this adage was written it was taken for granted that it would be pure air. All things “Shudh” are no more shudh. Ashudh is getting ashudher. Every breath you take, your “counter” keeps counting but it does not filter out the impurities that are doled free with it. One micro gram of carbon is free with every litre of air one inhales. We will take anything free even if it is at the peril of our lives. No one needs to be blamed except me & myself.

Let us leave the Delhi government aside. They are only capable of issuing orders for odd and even. Beyond that they blame all and sundry. Doesn’t the North and South block breathe the same air or are there special filters circulating clean air for the high and mighty. It just struck me that our circular parliament building will come into action shortly for the winter session hopefully by then all smog will have cleared off. The observation I have is the shape of the parliament building. It looks like a huge air filter of a vehicle. Therefore no matter how polluted the air is, nothing will penetrate through.

Pardon my saying so, it also depends on the thickness of skin of our law makers. Nothing can percolate through either. Another thing I find that hampers the smooth functioning of systems is the bureaucratic filters. A file goes from one desk to another. Form one department to another, from one ministry to another, it might be approved or disapproved it comes back the same way to the clerk who initiated the case. Imagine a sanction which goes through such stringent filtering of so many laws, by laws, clauses, notes, foot notes, annexure, appendices, rulings and finally reaching the top man. What is left of the original would have been soaked, rinsed and dried by the end of it. What is dished out to the public is anybody’s guess.

Well it reminds me of my fauji days where we were taught that sand is a natural filter for water, so to get the basic impurities out of it, we used to fill sand in a pitcher, pour dirty water on top, make a pin hole at the bottom and then wait for the water to drip, drop by drop. All those who lost patience and drank dirty water landed up in hospitals for dysentery and all those who had the patience to wait also landed up in hospitals due to dehydration. So the government is like that, you will in any case land up in hospital.

It is a fact that processes in our government’s machinery move at snail’s pace. To procure a machine, someone has to first say that it is needed. Then a group of ministers (GOM) will be formed. They shall roam around the world to understand it and give the final nod. Then someone will suggest putting the best brains together to order a product manufactured in Timbuktu, modified for Indian conditions. Finally, delays in budgetary approvals followed by the tendering procedure. The machine will be handed over after a photo operation, press release and front page coverage. It might find a mention in the MAN KI BAAT too.

A nut case like me will be made responsible to run and maintain it. Within two days I will damage some part. The same will be demanded and the whole procedure repeated. Now someone in Bhatinda will be contacted to make a replica which may or may not fit. The equipment will soon die its own death. Fog or smog stays where it is, as two seasons would have gone by. By then election time would be fast approaching, it would be summers by then, to hell with smog, people are fools and will forget.

Some people will die of lung and related ailments will make no difference to Neta ji. If “note bandi” could take a few lives so “fog bandi” deserves its share of sacrifices too. Road accidents due to poor visibility and smog will continue we will blame the potholes. Trains will run late, Flights will get diverted. Crops waste will continue to burn. Garbage will keep smoldering, blame it on the people, if there are no people there will be no garbage. Construction will continue without adhering to pollution norms. If nothing else blame it on Pakistan.

If the main cause of this smog are the winds from north which carry sand particles than those need to be trapped. People of Punjab and other neighbouring states have already started bundling up the stubble which now needs to be encouraged on a war footing before the next season. Vehicular and construction pollution has to be drastically reduced. No garbage whatsoever be burnt or allowed to be burnt should be our sincere pledge.

When the root cause of the smog is known, the polluters and pollutants are known, what I as a citizen have to do is known, then what the government and its agencies got to do should also be done. Is it lack of resources? Is it lack of funds? Or is it lack of will? I wish it was a pollution driven chemical attack on the parliament, this matter would have been sorted out in one day. When will this filter shaped parliament ever understand the value of each life which voted for them? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

CHAI LASSI AND KHICHIRI WHEN MIXED MAKES GST

I am totally enlightened after a marathon session of changes in the GST announced by the FM yesterday on TV. So far so that even if I don’t like to pay even a pai as tax I have been motivated to pay advance GST till the time this government’s tenure is over. You may ask me why? Well, let me pay it and be done with it. Tomorrow if the council decides to increase the rates I will just have to pay only the difference, in any case if tax rates are lowered I am on the safe side. Thora ziada de bhi diya to koi vanda nahi.

I used to love saying abracadabra, as what will come out of jaitley ki kaitley is never known. The kaitley is symbolic for dishing out chai, isn’t it. Naturally when his boss is an expert on this beverage his FM better dole out the best but I found him making lassi earlier and now it is khichri of kinds.

Actually my mind got all mixed up with this fresh GST announcement. I also found GST being diluted in a way or was it catering for some state elections. The spiced up concoction which was laid for the country turned out to be unpalatable for many. Thus as the lady of the house does on the quiet, once she gets the taste of it she tells the bai thora pani daal do. Two things happen then. The same now can be eaten with ease by more people & many can be satisfied with the quantities given out. The choice is spicy khichri, less spicy khichri or watery khichri. You better eat what is served. Right!

In the same breadth, I have an apprehension that if the govt finds that the tax collection is reducing now, as now government will be collecting Rs 20,000 crores less, so how will this loss be made up. Possibly some khichiri ingredients might be tempered with. Say if you can afford a room of more than Rs 7000 a night clearly indicates one is in the top bracket of pay packets, therefore, the government may tell you to pay additional before you check in. Government will make up its numbers by hook or by crook. I have decided I will find a relative or a friend in case I have to go somewhere, Jaitley ji you can keep spicing up your khichiri, I will find a jugad to circumvent it.

I have also decided not to use after shave. Sir, I shall go back to the good old days to use “Fitkari” after shaving. Perfumes I cannot afford. I shall try not to smell bad so you better provide me AC trains to commute. Reduced taxes on Chewing gum may only reduce bad odour from my mouth.

You will be glad to know that I don’t pay any “sin” tax. I kicked the habit of smoking and drinking long ago. The beauty is that you cannot charge me tax for calling you names. Till date I tried my best, worked hard and sincerely paid my taxes. I could never reach the figure of One crore including assets and property in my name. Business acumen I do not have but the only business I love to do is to love my country. A few lakhs which I have saved for enjoying in future I might as well use up fast or else tomorrow you might levy another tax on me.

I find that what you do is smart jiggrey-poggrey of words. The council you have created is responsible for all that you announce and not the government per se. The centre has 1/3rd votes, rest 2/3rd are with the states. Every state has one vote irrespective of its size. Decisions are made by 3/4th majority. 18 states you already have in your kitty. Life is balle balle for the government. BJP states cannot say no, centre government votes are secure then if you mix water in the khichiri or ghee makes no difference. Even if the Khichri becomes all meshed up due to overcooking that no ingredient is recognisable makes no difference either as there is no way one can avoid it.

My only humble submission to you is sir; I don’t mind you experimenting with the country’s money. However, the common man needs respite from exorbitant prices of everything. He wants to taste this khichri but the poor fellow is not capable to reach the dining table. The government can if it wants to add the best of tarka but why is the government taking back so much tax from us. Besides why are the basic ingredients like dal, chawal, namak, haldi getting out of hand of a common man? I wonder!!!!!!

JAI HIND

ARMED FORCES TO RESCUE POLLUTED INDIA

The buzz in Delhi and the media is pollution. To that extent my mind has got so polluted that I cannot think rationally anymore. The constant bak-bak, tu-tu-mai-mai about the subject is getting on my nerve. Worst is what can be implemented now is being deferred or postponed. Governments are busy with what they are best at doing that is passing the buck. It is not surprising that now even Pakistan has started blaming India for polluting its air, like we blame everything on ISI and Pakistan.

How can the Armed Forces contribute to reduction of pollution in North India? I have an idea. The serving folks will kill me for what I am going to suggest but I shall take it in its stride because we have done so many things for this country so why not chip in here too.

Let all transport aircrafts sprinkle water over the complete affected area, from Punjab to UP and from Himachal to Rajasthan, in and around Delhi where smog exists. I don’t know if our aircrafts can be modified to carry water but if need be let’s do it to our transport fleet. If the Government of India or for that matter Delhi goes to hire such aircrafts, it would be two seasons passed due to governmental delays. In case government hires aircrafts emergently, the exorbitant rates it might have to pay and how many people will make money needs to be considered. Yes, if we need to buy a few aircrafts which douse forest fires, let’s start the procurement process now for the next season.

The basic issue is the burning of stubble in Delhi & its neighbouring states. This year the farmers have already burnt what they had to but for next season let there be a massive logistics exercise by the Army or under the Army with Indian railways included. The complete fleet of the armed forces transport, civil hired transport (CHT) and goods train rakes be mobilised with adequate manpower by forming a grid across the affected states. As the farmers harvest, the trucks pick up the stubble and transport it to the remote desert of Rajasthan by rail and road.

Few things will happen; one, animals in Rajasthan’s will never go hungry. Two, thermal power plants can utilise this for generating power. Three, tremendous amount of compost can be generated which can be sent all over the country for farming. Four, in case Rajasthan wants to start organic farms along the IGC (Indira Gandhi Canal) I can assure you we will have radish (mooli) and carrots three feet long. Five, prices of vegetables will drop and six, there will be no need to import vegetables. The only thing is we will have to ban “Mooli Parathas” for obvious polluting reasons.

Let us try it out for one season. Let us have no burning of any crop waste. All this has to be done in a time bound manner and no one can beat the forces in punctuality. Let the government agencies clear all roads for passing of these huge convoys and railways give highest priority to such rakes. Let the CHTs be moved under the army supervision to places earmarked. Let a civil organisation get into fodder distribution and compost making so that well before the next crop all that was received is disposed off. Once the forces have shown the way let the civil administration take over and carry out this ritual as their primary duty to save people from pollution.

I am still not sure how do the developed countries expand their infrastructure without polluting their cities. Why Delhi needs to stop construction? Odd even rule needs to be followed but not with a double whammy that you quadruple the parking charges. Make Delhi so transport friendly that everyone commutes by public transport. If you count the number of cabs in Delhi the figure would be in many lakhs. Registered four wheelers may touch a figure of one crore plus. So rather than having 20 cars in the PMs Fleet can we reduce a few. Down the line Mantri’s who have such categories of security also need to prune their fleet. The Army Chief goes around with just two or three vehicles. Could anybody be a bigger target than the Chief himself? Let’s stop this show-sha bazi.

Well complete North India is gripped with this menace. Let us implement the short term measures today, plan for the long term in the next 30 days and be ready for its implementation in the next harvest season.

I gave this suggestion of using the forces in jest. You never know I might be given the Nobel Prize for “idiotic thinking”. If we as a force could do so many things for this country then why cannot we contribute to saving the residents of North India from this deadly pollution?

I have one more suggestion; someone needs to take the responsibility straight away irrespective of state, center, gram panchayat or whatever. The citizens have to stand up with the government now. Situation is becoming desperate. Stop this mind pollution, stop this venom and hatred spreading, stop all kinds of pollution of minority, majority, Hindu, Muslim. PM Sir, India is the biggest canvas where you can paint a collage. Let us see it emerging rather than it getting blurred in this mix of all sorts of pollutants. Will it be now or will it be never? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

THE BEST CAREER

As I sit back and look at the journey of my life, had I continued in the Indian Army, I would have retired at the end of this month. In the civil where I work with now, I may go on for another 6 years if all goes well. Well, I am not sure will I be able to last that long because of my nature which does not go very well in civil, which is to take a stand for my subordinates or for something which my conscious does not allow. Well, this attitude has cost me my job many times. I still continue to bash on regardless without bothering about the outcome.

This brings me to a question. Which is the right profession then? What can be termed as a satisfying career? In which job can you keep working till the day you like, keep earning and enjoy the best of life? Is it the forces? The answer is an absolute no. Is it the corporate? My answer is an absolute no again. I find two professions which might fit in the bill. One is to become a politician and the other is to become a holy man.

Be that as it may, the thought that triggered me to write this piece was the way armed forces are being used in the country today. It has been proved that the forces will come to the rescue of this nation for anything and everything including building a foot over bridge or cleaning the mountains besides all that we keep doing routinely in Aid to Civil Authorities. Why do we do it so professionally? It is because this comes from the ethos the men and women in uniform imbibe in them.

The simple formula we follow is Z-KIT-BM. The landmarks (Zamini Nishan) are given to get familiar with the terrain and area of responsibility, the information of both, own side and the enemy is given in great detail (Khabar dushman ki aur Khabar apni), the aim (Irada) of the operation is made crystal clear. It is short, crisp and precise. The modus operandi (Tarika) is then told so that no doubts are left lingering, including various contingencies. Thereafter, we discuss the administration (bandobast) and finally are the communications (Milap) between all parties participating in the operation.

Last but not the least we also synchronise our watches (Ghari Milao). This is the most important ritual, as we do things time bound. We then get to work even without orders. In case our leader becomes a causality or is not available, the next senior assumes his position automatically. We work, we rest and we get back to work again amidst all chaos till we achieve our aim as given out in the Irada. We fight till the last man last round, if rounds finish we get our bayonets on, if bayonets break, we don’t give up even then, we use are bare hands to achieve the aim even if we perish in the process. That’s our culture.

All this I do not see happening in the civil. First, I find the main aim is “paisa banao” (make money). Second, is to paisa bachao (save money), by not paying well and cutting down on salaries, amenities and manpower. To achieve greater heights the formula becomes lick, lick and lick. Butter every side of the toast. The formula used is, “KAAM NA KARO, KAAM KI FIQR KARO AUR FIQR KA ZIQR APNE BOSS KO ZAROOR KARO” (Don’t work, just worry about work and keep telling your boss that how worried you are) is the key to success. Secondly, for any fault, blame all and sundry rather than own up responsibility. Make someone the scapegoat. Let truth never prevail. If caught, run away or go to court.

Sit long hours in office twiddling your thumbs. In fact your boss does the same but apparently it should appear that you are the most sincere employee. Bring a pin and describe the process as if you bought an aeroplane. Discuss it repetitively in all meetings the efforts you put in to research about it, the hurdles you faced in the selection process, the difficulty with which you could convince people to pass your budget, not to forget how many mails you sent and the paper work you did. How you almost visited the vendor, got the pin loaded and followed it through every octroi post. Blame the delay on the non cooperation by some who did not give a crane to unload this pin especially if you hold a personal grudge against him. At the end expect a complimentary mail for you to keep in record to show it during your appraisal. Life actually sucks.

The profession of babas and baby’s I don’t have to discuss. Politics I don’t know and about politicians I won’t utter a word. One thing I may like to tell the people who run this country is that, Sirs, if you don’t make the profession of the Armed Forces the best career option in this country, if you don’t give the serving and the veterans their dues and Izzat, then your profession will be jeopardy someday. Politics as a career is alright but will you be able think beyond the petty politics and pay heed to the writings on the wall called “Khabar Apni”? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

IN CONVERSATION WITH CATHERINE

Catherine and I were driving down to Alibaug over the weekend when we struck up a conversation. I was listening to the stereo and my wife was appreciating the music system and the stereo effects. Catherine was not enjoying the drive at all; actually the same was the case with me. Reasons were many. One was the dilapidated condition of the road and the pot holes. Besides, the village dogs accosting us barking at their loudest and snarling with their dirty teeth. Hens along with their chicks thought the road was for them.  Worst of all was the chaotic traffic jams. Above all the weekend crowd who were pouring into our territory by the dozens. They were blocking traffic in garb of purchasing something or asking for directions in these narrow alleys. Quite a frustrating kind of a drive it was all in low gear.

I ignored her and kept my concentration on driving but there were pieces of the conversation which kept striking me again and again as she asked me the first question. Have you paid road tax? I said yes and that to a hefty amount. After a pause she asked me, why are there so many pot holes then? I had no answer. She told me, Noel, please take me out on a long and majestic drive, where the road surface is smooth, maybe on expressways where the thrill of driving can be enjoyed. It appears that here every time we venture out she is worried about checking out how long will the suspension hold and she told me that this way it won’t take long to give away. I just kept quiet and listened.

The next question she asked me that do you pay toll tax? I told her yes and where ever my ID card works I don’t. She said never mind, you have actually paid life time toll tax by serving the Indian Army, so I won’t ask you again, however, she continued to say that where does this toll money  collected  from the other vehicles disappear. I said I don’t know and continued focusing on the oncoming traffic and the huge potholes.

I was wondering to myself, that last year I saw lot of work going on this road. I used to have a smooth ride but where has the road vanished. This must be happening year after year and taxes which were being collected going down the drain. I again started to listen to the stereo and this time I changed the channel of my choice. I got lost in the music and lyrics as we were getting close to our destination.

Catherine was in a chirpy mood and threw another question at me. She said do you pay income tax? I replied in the affirmative. I am sure that some portion of that must also be allocated to the development of infrastructure in this country. I said surely it must be the case, I am not sure of the percentages. She appeared to be questioning the government head on. She continued to quiz me, see why there are so many accidents on the road? I said reckless driving! She said yes, just then two bikes whizzed past overtaking us from the wrong side and missed hitting us by a whisker. The basic reason is that the infrastructure is not being planned as per our expansion of population she said. I could not agree with her more. Her observation was that our population is exploding and so is purchase of vehicles but government is not making better and broader roads. I said yes. After a while she said, it is time for the government to wake up and I just kept mum.

A little ahead Catherine again poked me. I said now what and she said, you pay income tax, professional tax, GST and all the other taxes which the tax man can think of. I replied to her that it appears that you have got hold of a book on finance. She wanted to know where each and every pie went. I actually didn’t know. I looked at the setting sun from out of the window and thought to myself that yes she is right; over these years I couldn’t even hide one paisa of my income and all my taxes go down the drain, without much of accountability and returns.

At last Catherine blurted, I don’t want to be a dented and painted car for no fault of mine. I told her that I shall definitely convey her concerns to the people who matter. I then requested her to just keep quiet for a while as my wife watched the moon rise from the other side. I switched over to John Denver singing “Country Roads, take me home”, on the car stereo.

JAI HIND

WAY AHEAD FOR OROP PROTEST

I have these mixed feelings when I see Gen Satbir crying hoarse on TV. Sir, I too being on your side of Suez can feel the pain. I am thankful to each and every veteran and veer nari who has given even one minute for the agitation for our OROP. My hats off to you all for sustaining these 860 plus days which has seen many seasons change. The only thing which didn’t change was the dauntless attitude of all you people who sat in unison for our brethren. Sir, I salute each one of you for your spirit and courage shown for this cause.

I can only with folded hands plead to you sir, please do not highlight this in the media. They just want a story for breaking news and pass time on debates pitting soldiers against soldiers. Media and the politicians will have the last laugh watching and debating our plight.

The Armed Forces are a different breed in many ways. It has been amply proved the way veterans conducted themselves exemplarily by not going violent and abiding by the rules. Then why did we not vacate that place in the first go itself. Sir, I feel, we let ourselves become objects of ridicule by waiting there too long to be shooed away.  We are supposed to be Gentlemen first and Officers later. Somewhere we got mixed up.

There are no free lunches after we retire, isn’t it sir. So if the Ramlila grounds were asking for whatever amount per day, it was their right. Why were we showing our Ex-serviceman card to them? Are we looking for concessions or are we expecting a waiver of fees being an extra special category of people? That’s not going to happen. I can understand that what was passed in parliament and what we have got may be at variance but isn’t that we need to be thankful for. Whatever is left we can always put across in a manner befitting our community.

In good old days, when did we have everything that one needed Sir? Manpower was always short; equipment was off road or deficient; Ration, lesser said the better; state of accommodation was pathetic. We kept cursing the higher head quarters for lack of funds. Everything fell into the category of “manage”. Every year we were told to cut down budgets; consumption of fuel was curtailed; ‘A’ vehicle mileage kept reducing; administrative requirements kept increasing. A time came when Havildars were doing standing duties. Didn’t we live then? An officer below major’s rank was not even authorised a cooler. Officer Messes used to be flooded with officers; today they are rarities to be found. We in those days never lost our balance and sense of humour. We did crib like hell but made jungle main mangal.

Well, slowly and steadily our equipment was made up. So I am sure the same would be for the OROP. Why do we have to be so adamant and stuck? I concede that had you not started this agitation, we wouldn’t have got what we got. This doesn’t mean that unless we get what we think is correct, we keep protesting and fast unto death. I saw officers and widows being put to discomfort. I felt sad.

We are not politicians and not aware of the political game plans. They have the patience to wait and we don’t. They can make us cry and won’t budge. Tomorrow, if the parliament decides that pensions will be halved, would we protest then? Day after tomorrow the parliament passes a bill that there would be no income tax on pensions, will we still protest. One fine day the government decides that everyone will serve only five years, no pension and no other benefits, what will we do then?

Be that as it may, Sir, time is ripe for mid course correction. You don’t have to reveal your cards now. Let us do a tactical withdrawal, sit together and prepare a new plan to assault the perceived “enemy”. Shoot to kill is not working then let change tactics but let us not make ourselves the centre of scorn to be mocked and used for target practice by media and politicians. If we want to fight politics with politics like a tank versus tank battle, then let’s leave Jantar-Mantar and organise ourselves politically. If AAP could do it, we are definitely capable of being sabka BAAP.

I wish half of these days were utilised to reinforce, restructure, reorient, reconcile, recoup, reconstruct, re-crystallise our thoughts, resynchronise our effort, re-synergise our focus, rejuvenate, reconfirm our faith in our effort, revitalise, recapitulate, re-examine our lacuna, revitalise our energies,  reinforce our demands, resettle our nerves, resurrect our image, reformulate our plans, re constitute our ORBAT, rededicate ourselves to revolutionise our efforts and then renegotiate with the Government from a position of strength so that they cannot refuse but to condescend to our demands. Does it make sense to any one? I wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

SANTA TO GIFT OROP TO VETERANS THIS CHRISTMAS

Yesterday was the blackest day in my life when because of the Green Tribunal many of us who adorned the Olive Greens, Whites and Blues for the best part of our lives were evicted, manhandled and transported in the shabbiest manner from Jantar-Mantar. They did not spare even the ladies who lost their husbands in service of the nation. Well, in garb of the Supreme Court orders, where only “your honour” work, the police did the most dishonourable thing. They had no choice but to obey orders, so be it.

Law is equal for everyone, isn’t it?  So, in the same breadth had OROP been given the way it was envisaged and passed in the parliament, as it is given to other Government services, there was no reason for the veterans’ to sit for more than 860 days and demand parity, as if we are beggars.

Be that as it may, there are two ways of doing things; one is the gentlemanly way which has been exhibited by the veterans’ community till date. The other way can now be something how the Jat agitation or the Gujjar agitation was done. We have always given our services in “Aid to Civil Authorities” whenever the need was felt by the nation and when the civil administration had completely failed. Do we need to prove that you guys have been failures time and again as far as running administration is concerned during time of crises? I am sure the community which already has OROP needs to justify why they deserve it and why ex-servicemen have been deprived of the same for so long.

This nation is constantly facing external and internal enemies. We understand what the government must be going through to sort out issues internationally and regionally. That is why we are agitating peacefully. We have borne the brunt of external aggressions and internal disorders by laying down our lives in service of the nation with no questions asked. Here you treat us so dismally. Though we do not adorn the uniform anymore, we are capable to fight for our rights in a different manner. Will it be acceptable? The government is pushing us to the wall and time now is ripening for retaliation. Hope the time never comes! If the Government can speak to terrorist organisations, what wrong have the veterans done?

We have till now been fighting for the Izzat & dignity which is due to us. Now why should we hesitate to fight for our well deserved money also? We should get our dues or be capable to extract the same any which way. If the government gives it upfront, we have no issues, if it doesn’t then be warned that we have the acumen to do things differently. Say, if we disrupt Delhi for the same number of days as this agitation, there will be utter chaos in one day only. If need be let there be bloodshed on Vijay Chowk. Let the President who passes by it every Republic Day and there after enjoys beating the retreat ceremony at the same place should feel jolted to sit on the blood of veterans who always bore true allegiance to the Tri-colour. Let him also realise that it is time for him to intervene, as we the veterans have no choice left but to look up to the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces for his personal indulgence now.

Spending time on holidays with jawans is appreciable Mr PM. Madam RM, I had requested you to at least go and meet these veterans once. Had you done it, this stage would have never come. I wish it happens that instead Generals you put civilians as the commanders. Can the Chief downwards till Brigade Commanders be civilians? Chose your best Mr PM, let us see then how the integrity of the country is maintained. I know my argument is preposterous but I am convinced that we will be given OROP within two days. Let us see equal sacrifices from all those who are bent upon to block our right.

In the true spirit of the uniformed community, I think the Prime Minster should be contacted to give veterans an audience and explain to us the reasons for delay in implementation and why the deviation from what was promised in parliament. Let the RM be in attendance which I think can be arranged.

Christmas is coming, so one national holiday should be spent with the veterans. Hope PM becomes Santa Clause for us. The Presidents’ bodyguards could be requested to loan a buggy and some horses instead of the sleigh and the reindeers. Let him come dashing through the Delhi fog, on a one horse open sleigh and wish us Merry Christmas and grant us the correct and well deserved OROP. Will he? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

GABBAR AMONGST US

I like the way we were introduced to new acronym called GABBAR SINGH TAX (GST). True to the governments decree the situation in the country now is such that the Adhar is the new Udhaar, as banks will not give you a loan without verifying it. Ration cards give us no rations; gas subsidy has become gaseous and evaporated into thin air. Interest on FDs is shrinking by the day. One day I might have to pay the banks for leaving my money idle. Mutual funds are subject to market risks and I am averse to risks; even the kabaddi players are telling us that. For me stock is either chicken stock or vegetable stock. It at least adds to the taste and flavour of the food. However this GST has made the taste buds of every Indian go numb. Why? Only one Indian knows and that is Gabbar. Samba does the maths, Gabbar does the announcement and Ramgarh (India) feels the tremors.

Today, the Government has become a kind of Gabbar Singh with a soul aim of extracting their pound of flesh from the common man. That is how it appears to me. Thanks to the dynamic prices of petrol and diesel, it is now better to walk to office. Life has become so uncertain that one is not sure whether one will be able to cross a foot over bridge alive or not. If a person drinks milk, will it be pure as milk is supposed to be or will it be adulterated, no one knows. One may be lynched for keeping a big moustache. People won’t know the difference if I drive zig-zag in broad daylight on an empty road and may get beaten up for drunk driving, whereas I may be just avoiding potholes.

Be that as it may, the optimism which the new government had brought is diminishing every day. They may claim work is being done full speed, fine. I only want to understand then why are the prices skyrocketing at break neck speed. I do want to thank the government for the 7th pay commission and bringing to life my dead mobile phone. Well yes the sms alert from the bank stating “peanuts” have been credited to my account gives me that sense of accomplishment that see I have been able to juice out the government, not realising that the government is “my baap”. They know how to squeeze the aam admi that leaves him wondering whether to buy food or whether to clothe himself. Seriously, the mango man doesn’t know whether he is coming or going.

Today, one doesn’t know whom to believe in, as someone wants me to invest in mutual funds telling you “sahi hai”. The insurance agent comes out with plans like jeevan dhara, jeevan suraksha, jeevan bima, blah-blah-blah. You keep putting money for twenty five years and at the end of it the value of money is lesser than what you invested. The only favour you may do to your family is to kick the bucket well before its maturity as they claim “jeevan ke baad bhi”.

Deepika and gang emphasise to paint your walls with such a paint which purifies the air. Hello madam, if I had so much of money I would buy an air purifier first. Sachin tells me to buy “live pure”, in fact he coaxes India by saying come on India, live pure. Brother with great difficulty Acqua-Guard lagaya hai, now you want me to change the damn system. Municipality mar gayi hai kya that they can’t provide me safe, clean and pure drinking water. Waise, I have a choice to go with Hema Mailini also. I love the way she models for Kent.

Today, I can just about afford a cutting chai because it is spared from GST. I wish to save money by cutting that small cup further into half. No one had designed such a small use and throw cup unless we start recycling coca cola caps for drinking tea due to affordability reasons. The pinch of prices is hurting each and everyone now. With every passing day the aam admi is finding simple necessities of life getting out of hand. Matter of factly the common man is being made to dance like “Basanti”. The government sits and watches the entertainment show and taxes him mentally, physically, emotionally and financially to the hilt. The janta is getting tired of dancing to such tunes, in fact diktats.

Some promised achhe din, some promised India shining, some promised whatever. The aam admi now is so scared of Gabbar that moment he opens his mouth people get goose bumps out of fear the next surprise he may spring. I will keep mum as I have no choice but to bear the inconvenience. Gabbar can modify his dialogue to “kitney taxes the”. Will he? I can only wonder!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

TO STAND OR NOT TO STAND

Our National Anthem has been in the headlines since the last couple of days. We Indians are not on the same grid on whether to stand, sit or lie down when it is played. We are also not sure as to when it should be played and where. We are also not clear what all occasions are solemn and what all occasions are not appropriate for it to be played. We all actually want to just talk about our rising goose bumps when we hear it and the patriotic kind of feelings it injects into us. We all are ready to give a lecture to one and all how to show respect to the anthem and flag but are unwilling to leave our pop corns for the fear of them spilling over. It is 180 bucks after all. We basically do not want to stand up once we have sat down in the cinema hall due to lethargy. That is the problem.

While watching TV and flicking channels, say, we land up on the opening moments of a hockey match. We may not understand the meaning or even the tune of the national anthem of another country but we will like to follow the lip sync of their players to try and understand what is being sung. We all will appreciate the way those ten odd spectators of the other country carrying their country’s flag with their hands across their hearts. On the other hand we will keep fidgeting for at least one stanza to stand up for “jana gana mana”. In case the camera focuses on us during the process, then to hell with my patriotism. I will wave all my hands and jump on my feet so that in case even my bai watching the match on TV will recognise me. Another reason for doing so is that the cameraman may not focus at me again unless there is a good looking girl sitting there.

Well, in the forces we do the “Rashtriya Salute” on various occasions, no one has to tell us to stand up. If the “Nishan Toli” is trooping the National Flag all of us in uniform salute. The salute is not given sitting down but standing in “Savdhan”(Attention). Yes, all those who are battle causalities and are on wheel chairs are the only people who are allowed to salute sitting down and they too pull their arms to their sides before saluting. There is another exception when your right hand is bandaged, immobilised or amputated; the person salutes with his left hand but salute he will. After all, the tricolour is being unfurled or being paraded and the “Rashtriya Gaan” are being played. That is the importance we as soldiers give to our national flag and the National Anthem. We fight for this flag, we die for this flag and we come draped in this flag. This was taught to us, drilled into us and now it imbibes in our blood as second nature. We don’t need debates whether to stand or sit, we know what to do.

Another thing is, moving around when the anthem is played. Why can’t people just stand straight? What is so urgent in that Whatsapp message? Why does some part of the body feel itchy at that precise moment? Can’t the description of the dress of the lady in front of you wait? Wait for the anthem to be over to discuss all that is under the sun after those fifty two seconds yaar? If you spot your old neighbour in the stadium, why you can’t hold waving to him? Hold your horses friends, join your heels, pull your arms to your sides, stand rock solid, don’t fidget or move, leave that itch for a moment, leave your pant stuck at the wrong place for less than a minute, concentrate on the anthem, sing along and there after you cheer and jeer for any team, is my view.

As a child I remember, the national anthem used to be played in cinemas at the end of the movie. All of us used to stand. Slowly, as time passed by, everyone used to be in a hurry to get to the cycle stand to locate ones bicycle and rush back home. People who had to catch buses after the show did not even wait for the movie to finish. The cinema owners stopped opening the exit gates initially but pressure of the people to break their doors left them with no option but to open up moment the final acknowledgements use to roll. We were impatient then and we are super impatient now.

Well folks, when it comes to India we will tolerate no nonsense from anyone, isn’t it? If I tell people that the symbol of your nationalism the National Anthem and flag is being disrespected due to our own despicable behaviour and nonsense, would anyone agree? I am no one to tell anyone to stand or sit and I cannot question the courts either but if people cannot understand how to respect our national symbols then God only save us. If for this also courts have to intervene then why do we call ourselves Indians in the first place? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

WHEN PETS DON’T HAVE ALL THE FUN

If you see dogs with tails between their legs, whimpering, whining, running helter-skelter, digging up holes, huddling up with other dogs, shivering, avoiding food, basically scared almost to death, it means it is Diwali time. Dussera on wards, their behaviour takes a turn and suddenly from a happy go lucky dog it appears subdued and lack luster. The dogs which used to chase cats and squirrels’ at the drop of a hat are found moaning to themselves in squeaky voices sitting quietly in a corner. At that moment if a cat came and cuddled up, it won’t object all. This is a consequence of the fire crackers. The loud bangs and flashing lights scare the daylights out of them.

This year somehow the bangs drastically reduced. It has been few days since Diwali; I have yet to see the stray’s in my colony surface. Most of them have gone in hiding and I know there are numerous rain water drains which are the safest places. The hangover of those loud bangs must be still fresh in their minds. In a way it is good as we have a pack of about 10-12 strays who have now become the bosses of the colony. They do intimidate and gnarl colony residents sometimes.

These crackers are a kind of trauma for the dogs at least. I have observed dogs urinating with every bang. One can only pity their plight. Like on Holi people colour the dogs, on Diwali I have seen some sadistic people tying up series of crackers to their tails and lighting them. It is the cruellest from of torture I should say. What do they achieve out of it is anybody’s guess?

I am an animal lover and have made friends with almost every cat and dog here. To satisfy my “petty” feelings, I talk to every dog and cat during my walks. In the last couple of years most of them have started responding. I see their faces light up on seeing me which is indicated by a small meow in response to my voice, a wag of a tail if not a lick from the dogs. As a habit, I wish everyone during my walk. I wish these animals too and they respond back. Some people don’t, well lesser said the better about humans. There are a few cats which sit on our benches in the lawn, some allow me to approach them and give a tickle on their necks and if in the mood let me tickle their bellies too. I love it.

Be that as it may, I think people of India have taken cognizance to appeals given for reducing pollution, Diwali crackers being one of them. After all we all got to breathe easy. Sentiments should not come in between life and death. If we can save every drop of water and every unit of electricity for a better future, we can save the environment by bursting fewer and fewer crackers to save us from passive smoking and trauma to the ear drums. Every year many markets go up in flames causing colossal damage. People of jhuggi-jhonpris also keep their fingers crossed with a prayer that hopefully no stray rocket will make way to their humble dwellings.

The fire department is on super high alert. Hospitals get thousands of burn cases due to cracker injuries and lots of vision related issues. The issues related to lung and breathing is well known too. The trauma these crackers cause to the new born, old and infirm are also a cause of major worry. Let us give them the peace they deserve.

What I have understood about my own self is that unless I get kicked and pushed by someone I don’t listen to orders. I always argue of how not to do things. I always try and bicker about things if it is forced on me. I try and avoid following the rules and try and get out of the situation somehow. If still I have to follow that order I do so with utmost reluctance, cursing every government & organisation for the burden it puts on my finances and hurting my sentiments.

I wish the animals also have some place to complain to save them from the trauma, shock, suffering and pain. Let us be just be good and compassionate citizens of India. Political interference is not required or else we will find religion coming in to sort out the ache these animals suffer from during our festivals. Let us collectively decide so that courts are left free to do their primary job rather than order a ban on sale of crackers. Hope we see wisdom in it before they ban bursting of crackers completely. Will anyone see reason? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

GT ROAD RENAMED NOEL ELLIS ROAD

Someone said uproot the Taj Mahal, thereafter people came up with an idea to demolish the Rashtrapati Bhawan and Parliament. Then a few suggested the Red Fort too should bite the dust. I am amazed at how people think and add fuel to the already lit communal fire. One thing is clear, the way we are trying to tamper with history it will definitely have consequences.  What Aurengzeb did or did not do is not the question but had we Indians got the guts we should have not allowed him to invade us. Had we been united then we would have not allowed anyone to leave a landmark or any legacy. We aren’t united even today thus not learning from our history.

Be that as it may, I was thinking why not rename the Grant Trunk (GT) road. It was named Sher Shah Suri Marg once. Who was Mr SS Suri? Please dig into the history books to find out don’t ask me. A Punjabi song popular amongst truck drivers about the road were “GT road te, haye road te….” Bus drivers used to believe in, “Chak de phatte nap de killi, subha Jalandhar sham nu dilli”. I remember traveling this route by road as well as rail as a child and it used to be the most prestigious route called the NH-1 from Lahore to Calcutta. I have seen this road transform from a road to a Highway and that is history.

There was no direct bus or train service to Delhi from Kapurthala, my residence. The nearest place to get a bus or train was Jullunder now Jalandhar (change in history). A small bus stand on GT road Jalandhar used to be congested like hell. To identify a bus going to “Garha” village or Delhi was difficult. If the bus had its chassis bent, torn silencer, splattered with mud, doors missing, broken windows, hanging head lights and the radiator glaring at you over a half hanging fender one could assume this is a local bus. A nicely painted, well dressed driver, Jalwa horn blaring, cushioned seats, freshly cleaned if not painted body; with lots of hanging jhalars all around the bus was an indicator that this could be a long route bus. Of course the shout in short bursts, Dilli-dilli-dilli-dilli. The conductor used to make it very clear “Rah di sawari koi na hove” (passengers getting down enroute need not mount) and mark my words Phillor and Phagwara people were dropped only at Ludhiana.

GT road was broad though but did not have dividers in between then. I have seen it grow from two lanes to six lanes and to what it is today. There were hardly any flyovers. In those days buses and trains used to race side by side. Closer to Ludhiana somewhere near Dhandarikalan, “keenu” used to be a new citrus fruit introduced those days. The long route busses used to stop for a quick drink of freshly squeezed malta or keenu juice.

Ambala Cantt used to be a major junction and the trains used to halt long enough for dad to rush to Puran Singh da dhaba and get fresh mutton curry and tandoori rotis. From there reaching Delhi was either from the Meerut-Gaziabad route for Old Delhi or the Kurukshetra route for New Delhi. We mostly travelled to Old Delhi. Moment one heard the heavy sounds of those typical clangs and bangs on the common rail and Road Bridge on river Yamuna hugging the red fort walls one knew “Ab dilli door nahi” (Delhi is not far away). If history has to be changed then the Bombay-Ferozpur Frontier Mail and Delhi-Amritsar Flying Mail also need to be re-named.

Why not change its name into Akbar road, no-no not the Azeem-O-Shaan Sahensha but our very own indigenous Akbar saab who is now an MP. With no offences meant sir and no religious flavour as till date I am confused who was Akbar’s son, was it Babar or Humayun or neither. My history is pathetic as it is. I always get mixed up with the fathers and sons of that era. With the present generation they won’t even care to find out who was who and we talk of changing history.

Why not name it Noel Ellis road? Half of India will not be able to pronounce it first of all. The only qualification I have is that I am a common citizen of this country. Why history can’t be created by renaming a road on the “aam admis” name. Why do we always look up in history to name things after all those oldies, or all those political figures? Well, freedom fighters too now are being felicitated at many places. I gave my youth too for keeping the country’s sovereignty in tact by serving the motherland by being part of one of the finest Armies of the world. Yes people may say I am living person. I will argue lets create history by not naming something on somebody who is already dead.

These days I find only polarisation and hatred being spread. I do not accept it as a citizen of this country. All those who try to change history will become history themselves.  Today’s generation cares two hoots whether you name a road or a building on anything. We are a modern India so changing ancient history won’t work Mr Dhotiwala. Can you guys grow up? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

RAKHSA MANTRI ANNOUNCES WAR

As they say old habits die hard so following my habit I switched on TV news in the lunch break yesterday. I saw my Defence Minister addressing a press conference. I thought to myself that war must be imminent. The volume was on mute so I could not gather the gist and my specks too were not on my nose so could not read the ticker either. My curiosity kept increasing. As usual my daughter hid the remote somewhere. Finally, I could locate it and hear the sweet and melodious voice of the RM. To my utter shock she was discussing Mr Robert Vadra. I shoved a finger in my ear and gave it a shake in disbelief that have I heard it correct that the RM had found the most happening jija ji to talk about. Had she been discussing Gen Javed Bajwa, Pak ISI Chief or Masood Azhar it would have been worth listening to. It took me one minute to get the gist and I flicked to discovery channel.

Madam, I had just written a piece a few days back welcoming you to the folds of the uniformed people. I felt really belittled that the government of the day chose you as the spokesperson to put down someone who may have swindled and made loads of money through his deals as alleged but he doesn’t deserve a mention from “my” RM at least. Madam, as they say in the Army, ladies and politics are never discussed by officers. You leave me no choice except to discuss you and the politics. I felt what you were doing was the politics of a loser.

Is it because all the rest are busy with Gujarat elections and there was no one left to high light Mr Vadra of all the people? Was it a cover story to camouflage the flak which Mr Shah’s son was supposed to take? Madam we got to fight a war with our enemies for which you have been chosen as the final authority and word. Here because of political compulsions you had to speak about a person whose in-laws have so much of money that might be equivalent to your defence budget. I am just conjecturing as I am convinced that at least I can see through the smoke screen you raise. Basically the idea was to demean the Congress.  I also know that everything is fair in love and war. Where is love here? Is it love for your party? What about love for the country? Where is war? Is it the political war you are talking about? In any case the RM is not meant to fight with any individual. I feel “ye sab aap ko shobha nahi deta” (all this doesn’t suit your appointment and the dignity attached to it)

Hope madam like you have put the Armed Forces to clean all mountainous areas, you now don’t put us to clean all the political muck. You can be rest assured we can do that too but we in the armed forces are way above all this ma’am. We discuss ideas and not people. Had you talked about the measures you were taking to bring back Cdr Kulbhushan Yadav before Diwali or eliminating all terrorist launch pads in POK, I would have appreciated it. Had you told the media about the latest tanks and guns or for that matter the latest warship you launched I would have never spoken a word but when I heard you speaking about a person who is related to the head of your political opponents, my head bows in shame.

I do not know if you have a choice to refuse such press briefings. Madam you are senior to me in age and service. You also know politics well. I have no clue of even how to spell that word starting with a P. But this I definitely know that on one hand you are the most powerful woman of this country who can mobilise resources to fight nations, terrorists and terrorism. You can dominate the skies, put naval blockades against enemy nations and you chose to speak about a person who has got nothing to do with the country’s defence. Not done Ma’am.

Madam it doesn’t look nice for the Defence Minister of India leaving her prime responsibility addresses a few journalists on the few lakh rupees paid by someone, for someone, in some country, to do some travel a few years back. You are in government and you haven’t been able to fix that fellow in any of the conspiracies he is involved in, when all investigating agencies are duty bound to obey the ruling political masters. You also know that things are under courts considerations. Then what makes you come out all guns blazing at this man just because a news channel broke the story. I consider it to be absolutely useless politics. Except to spread negativity you are doing nothing else. Doesn’t suit the decorum your chair deserves.

Be that as it may ma’am, I feel a little uncomfortable when you with such an esteemed post have to speak about a person who doesn’t matter to anyone. If you can get back the thousands of crores that Mr Malaya took away, you can surely recover the same one day from this person too. Madam, defence is a different ball game which you now got to be serious about. However, kindly remember the armed forces stay away from politics. Please don’t mix the two. I am no one to advise you but you are responsible for “Desh ki Raksha” not “Vadra se raksha”. Will you ever understand? I wonder!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

It is quite a challenge to handle civilian employees especially those who don’t understand logic. Why? I don’t know. Let me share with you an incident which most of us faujis will laugh off as a silly issue. However, if I see it as an issue for employees it becomes a big one. I don’t want to draw any conclusions from it but suffice to say may God grant them wisdom to understand that there is life beyond making an issue out of a tissue. Here goes!

Let me give a little background to the story. We have two busses one of which is a shift bus and the second one is for CSR activities. Schools are closed for Diwali so the CSR bus is kept as a standby to the shift bus. A Sunday before Diwali, as a tradition both the busses are sent to Bombay for Diwali purchases as a welfare measure for employees. Thus we have to ensure all shift people have to be picked and dropped in company transport for that day.

The company had a hired 7 seater which the contractor withdrew without notice three days back. In addition there is a company owned 7 seater (Xylo), whose electrical systems packed off in its last trip; it now can function in day only. We were about to send it for repairs as we have a small car (I-10) but unfortunately that met with an accident and had to be sent to the workshop. There is no provision of hiring any additional vehicle whatsoever, call it the terms of reference.

To add to the crises on Saturday night the plant developed an issue, so many of the technicians had to be held back. Once the criticality of the plant was resolved were they allowed to leave? Some of them had been in the plant for about 24 hours. Hats off to them!

Be that as it may, the real complications start now as instead of say 4-5 people who were supposed to be dropped the numbers swelled up to 14-15. They definitely cannot fit in a xylo. They all came and sat in the shift bus which was detailed to go to Mumbai and refused to budge. The time of release of all the vehicles was 6.15am. The employees decided that they have a birth right on the shift bus and shall not adjust for about 20 kms with other passengers and families who also had to travel on the common route.

The solutions offered to them were, firstly, we will do two trips of the Xylo which was not acceptable to them as they were not able to decide who should go in the first trip. No one wanted to hang around twiddling his thumbs. The second solution offered was that kindly be accommodative for these 20 kms and let the Mumbai marketing people also stand along. Priority to sit on the seats shall be given to the shift people. Third solution given to them was the Xylo will accompany the busses, carry seven shift people especially those who stay nearby. This was also not acceptable to them either. Third solution offered was that Mumbai marketing people sit in the xylo and these people will then board the bus after 20 kms having dropped the shift people.

Ultimately after 60 minutes of haggling, pleading, requesting, coaxing, cajoling repeatedly did they agree? One hour was wasted in futile discussions. Everyone got delayed. I even offered to drop people in my car if worse comes to worst but by then some good sense prevailed and after heated parleys people left for their destinations.

What did you gather out of all this folks? Had the shift people been a little accommodative, a little adjusting, a little more flexible, a little more sensitive, a little more open minded, nothing of this sort should have happened. Had logic been applied, a kind of crisis situation should never have arisen. Imagine a person who waits for this shopping trip suddenly finds his trip being cancelled or delayed. How can shift people be so unreasonable? Why do people have to be difficult? Why do people make things harder when they know that resources are limited?

Had the shift people created a win-win situation in the first place, everybody would have been home and in Mumbai in time. We are all working for the same organisation but without unity and brotherhood. We don’t have a helping nature. My Ego is supreme. Anything in which I am a little uncomfortable is not acceptable to me is the psyche. Problem solving and issue resolving is not in their blood as most of them become mere Tamashbeen’s (spectators) to have some more masala to gossip about. How to help the other person who is going out of his way to tide over a situation is expecting too much. It is my way or no other way. Do what you have to or let everyone be inconvenienced.  My comfort comes first always and every time.

All is well that ends well friends. I did not want to get into telling them “when I was in the Army”. Thank God a body called the “workers union” did not get involved otherwise situation could have worsened. Over all a sad state of affairs as too much of welfare has spoilt them. Suffice to say one more day has passed, let me wait for the next challenge. Will these people ever understand? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

RIP ARUSHI

Arushi was murdered nine years back; her parents were in jail after being convicted by the lower court. High court changed the verdict and doesn’t find the parents guilty. Thus they would get back to their “abnormal” lives soon. The irony of the whole situation is that the real culprit roams scot free. What was the motive of the double murder will never be known? Two lives lost on a very normal day leaves me to ponder who will be next. I also want to understand that a judge who has the same qualifications irrespective of whichever court, one finds some one guilty and the other finds them not guilty. The investigating authorities again get egg on their face for not being able to produce ample evidence to nail the culprits, what a shame!

I have yet to understand that why everyone has to insist on a CBI inquiry every time. Once the event is over, the bodies and evidences have been washed clean, bodies buried or cremated after a post mortem, then suddenly CBI is rushed in to recreate the whole scene to firstly find out what actually has happened. Then they try and establish who all were or should be involved. The result is neither do we get to know the motive nor we get to see the culprit ever. To top it all due to lack of clinching evidence the courts don’t find any merit and dismiss the case. I also don’t understand how the lawyers can twist and turn the case on its head. Sometimes it appears that the murdered person himself would have hired someone to get murdered to confuse the world. A murder is converted into a suicide and vice versa. A person who should be hanged roams around free and a person who should be free but doesn’t have a good lawyer languishes in jail. God save our systems.

I say if a crime has happened, irrespective of high or low profile. A crime is a crime. Period! There should be one agency, one department, one channel to get to the bottom of it. Policing being a state subject that is where things get mixed up. Post mortem reports are fudged, investigations slip shod, normal public and neighbours are harassed and the end result is zero. To show some action a few suspected not convicted people are put in jail, media moves on to another story, so does the public and investigators keep earning their pay in futile investigations is my perception as a common man. If this sentiment is what you too feel then there is something basically wrong with our systems.

Let us calculate the amount of money spent on investigating one case (say Bofors), in cash and kind, in black or white, overtly and covertly by all the investigation agencies. Let us calculate the man hours spent on the case by every investigating authority including the judiciary. Then let us see the cost to realise the futility of such investigations. Was it worth the effort? Yes the “sarkari damads” (Government son-in-laws) had to earn their pay and be gainfully employed at the cost of the tax payer’s money. No accountability, no responsibility, free foreign tours and zero dependability.

The CBI for that matter may have done some good jobs too and I am no one to steal their thunder but in the name of being secret operatives one cannot hide behind the Official’s Secret Act every time. If they do not change the common mans perception then something drastic needs to be done. As per details to answers of starred question in Lok Sabha in August 2017, a total of approx 1,369 cases were under investigation, 175 of them for more than two years and 394 were between one to two years.

Reasons for the delay include complex and voluminous nature of cases and large number of witnesses. Many of the cases referred by State Governments, Supreme Court and High Courts get delayed in handing over to CBI after initial investigation by local police. Besides these, “stay by courts” and “delay in execution letters with foreign countries” are also an impediment. Non-traceability of accused, delay in getting expert opinion and non-appearance of accused adds to the woes. Further, adjournments taken by the accused on different grounds also delays the CBI probe.

Now that we know the causes of delay why not mitigate them. Let us lend credibility to our investigations. Why do we have to give a chance to an organisation to keep blaming everyone else for the delays, why doesn’t it take things in hand ab-initio? Let there be an agreement between centre and state and a clear cut demarcation. Time bound hearings and process of investigation. Special courts and judges should be appointed. One case, one file, one court, one judge, max one year, case closed. Now, don’t tell me it can’t be done due to the due process and governmental procedures which need to be followed. If laws have to be reframed, so be it. Besides, all those who botch up investigations or cause hindrances’ or waste the courts time should be in the clink too, Period!

Let there be some accountability somewhere folks, let the delays and taking advantage of loopholes in the system be stopped. Let the lawyers not twist cases, let culprits be booked, let things happen timely and in a time bound manner. Let justice prevail. If we have a political will and necessary push to complete an unbiased, uninfluenced, clean, crisp and genuine investigation, we can prove to the country that systems function. If not then who murdered Arushi (God bless her) and why, all of us can keep wondering!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

WHOSE BAN IS IT ANYWAY

Let us ban the judiciary folks and let us have a free for all in this country. I (Natha Singh) and my friend Prem Singh can do what we feel like and when we feel like. I want to have a drink at 3am, I should be allowed to have it, I want to drink 300 ml, where is the problem, thereafter, I want to drive my car at 300 km per hour why should anyone have an issue. If the bar owner refuses to honour my demand why can’t I break his shop if not his bones, after that I may also refuse to pay him, how does it matter to anyone. Let me play music at 300 decibels. Let us lift the ban on everything for one week and see the results.

Let cinema halls show what they want to, let restaurants serve any meat or vegetable, let me roam around the way I want to, in which ever dress, in case I want to dress. Let me break traffic rules, let me smoke in public places, let me watch those dirty movies, let me defecate on the main road as it is I water trees of my choice. Let me marry today and divorce tomorrow. As the Punjabi keys go, “mainu key, tuhannu key, te sannu key (what goes of me, you and us, who cares)

Possession of fire arms is banned in India unless you have a licence. Why is this ban imposed? I may like to kill a bird, an animal or Prem Singh for that matter. If someone comes to arrest me I should be allowed to defend myself, isn’t it? I may turn violent when I feel like. I should be allowed to go on strike when I feel like, jam the roads, burn busses and public property at will and stop trains at my convenience. If the municipality goes on strike and leaves muck at your door step for you to live in the stench, then one cries foul. Let us stop being Hippocrates,

In India, why is kissing banned in public? It doesn’t pollute or kill but it is banned for cultural reasons. Beef is banned. Mannequins displaying lingerie is banned as it arouses carnal feelings. Porn of course I don’t have to reiterate is banned for obvious reasons. Alcohol advertisements are banned in India and so are the dancing girls in bars; homosexuality, I am not clear is it banned or allowed in our culture and constitution. Many movies are banned and so are various books. Taking drugs is banned, prostitution is banned. I remember even Maggie noodles were banned. Use of cuss words are banned in movies, showing people smoking is banned too. All these bans have had some positive effects I suppose.

Then why is this hullabaloo about banning crackers in Delhi. Why it should be limited to Delhi it should be pan India, I think. At least the animals will be relieved of the stress as much as their human counterparts. It is not about Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isaai. If that is so I feel sorry for people beating themselves on Moharram too. I feel sorry for all the Ganpatis which are immersed in water. I feel sorry for the Eid slaughter also. I feel sorry for all that sewage that is drained into the rivers. The list is endless. There is a ban on burning of crop residue but who listens to orders. One definitely needs to ponder.

Today, the scale of India has become so colossal that if one cracker per person is burst it means 125 crore crackers, simple multiplication. If one person urinates or defecates in the open, the number becomes countless. Plastic was banned and is still banned but we do not adhere to norms? So if we have to ban it why not ban pollution of every kind. The courts interfere because the public doesn’t listen. We attach too many sentiments to it. To top it all people add the religious flavour to it. I think time now has come to raise oneself above all that.

At least the judiciary is thinking about pollution free India. Shopkeepers of Delhi knew that this ban will come as they had been informed that the court is processing the case. Still if they stocked crackers, Mainu key. They state that they paid GST; yes, they have to if they bought goods, tuhannu key. When they knew that such a ban could come then why are they complaining now, karde rain, sannu key? I feel the courts have to be ruthless and the law enforcing agencies have to book everyone who dares to break the rules. Sentiments can hold on this Diwali, Christmas, Eid or Holi. Once we will breathe easy, we shall know the difference of this one step to ban bursting of crackers.

Well, I may sound radical, doesn’t matter. Let us pledge to ban all sorts of pollution maybe it water, air, land, noise, mind etc. Our generation has to leave this earth a better place for our future generations. Today, children are mature enough to understand and they too insist to stop burning crackers. To blame the courts is absolutely incorrect; let us blame ourselves for once. Will we stop getting over emotional about everything and respect such a ban? I wonder!!!!!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

 

PM SHOOTING RAVAN

It was very funny to watch Modiji shooting an arrow from the hip on dussera. I am more accustomed to him shooting volleys from the lip. Imagine, Modiji in a trench along the LoC, Pakistan (Ravan) attacking and PM desperately trying to fire his gun. Twice it misfires and the third time Modiji picks up loose bullets and throws them at the enemy. Like all good stories end, the enemy would have suffered heavy casualties and retreated, for all is well that ends well.

It reminds me of my WT (weapon training) lessons while learning our basics of 7.62mm SLR.  It was called “Rokon ko dur karna” (removing the faults). Any mechanical thing can fail, so the “ustad” used to howl,” rifle theek fire karta rukta”, (rifle stops while firing), you just had to cock it and press the trigger, 98 times out of 100 the damn thing used to fire. Then he used to say “fire nahin” (no fire), you were then supposed to check the magazine, you could have an empty magazine, reload, cock the weapon and fire. There was one very funny command called “ Ek do round ke baad rukta” (stopping after one or two rounds) and you like a monkey said “gas ki kami” and turned the gas regulator with a funny looking tool and continued firing. Then there was one command called “fir bhi fire nahi” (still your rifle doesn’t fire), then you had to check the ejected round and check the “Painda” (base) of the round and shout “Painde pe chot nahi” (no strike on the base) and then you stripped the weapon and changed the firing pin as you were taught to say “toota hua firing pin”. Good old days they were and we practiced like hell.

One used to dread in case of war or insurgency while engaging the enemy if you have a toota hua firing pin. Then you had only one choice to dauro, leto, rengo aar pakrao, firing pin change karo aur wapas fire karo. As luck would have it I only handled an AK-47 in J&K and Manipur, I never had to go through even one “rok” (stoppage) ever. Lucky me!

PM Sahib the reality is that there are many “roks” everywhere in our systems. There are “kaidas-kanoons” (rules and regulations) but no one knows how to get things done the proper way. It ultimately boils down to throwing the arrow rather than releasing it properly. This I say in terms of all the things like GST etc which are being implemented. Everyone has agreed that this (GST) needs to be fired but none of the so called experts know how will it work or how it is to be implemented. So rather than firing it “by the “seekha hua tareeka” (learnt way) as they call it in the fauj, they experiment with it. If it hits the target, well and good, if it doesn’t then they tweak the system (improvise). In the mean time our own forces (common man) suffer as they are not sure what to do in the interim.

Be that as it may, had such a SNAFU occurred in the army there would have been hell to pay? From the Table orderly to the Safai wala everyone would have been on a route march from Kashmir to Kanya Kumari and back. PMs Bow doesn’t shoot an arrow, Impossible! The person who made it would have tested it; the CHM would have tested it twice. From the Senior JCO, the Company Commander and the CO up the ladder everyone would have checked it. The Commander would have given a demo to the GOC on a FMR (Field Miniature Range) and finally the Corps Commander and the Army Commander would have been shown a live demo on the field firing ranges, where contingencies like this would have been catered for.  Even Chief’s ADC would have confirmed that all systems are working fine. A stand by arrow would have been fired and the Engineer regiment would have already catered for a demolition charge under the Ravan. How dare the arrow misfires?

Jokes apart, the reality is ladies and gentlemen, even if one has to fire dummy rounds it needs practice. So Modiji, there are big lessons for you. I know you have many things to fire for the good of this country thus lesson one, a rehearsal and a practice is definitely required. Lesson number two, get out of this notion that everything will fire perfectly because it is being fired by the PM. Things can go wrong at the last moment courtesy your advisors. Lesson three; you did not have a proper plan B in place otherwise you wouldn’t have to improvise by throwing the arrow. Lesson four, your civil Mehakma needs to pull up their socks. At such a level blunders like this are unacceptable. The PM is live on every channel shows India in poor light. Lesson six; please do not take everything and everyone for granted. Lesson seven, your confidence in tackling the situation was good but you cannot rely on instincts and take chances like this with a nation of 125 crore.

You as the top leader have to fire and fire for effect sir. Every word you fire, every policy and legislation has to be for the good of this nation. I the common man shall be observing the balance of this government’s tenure closely. We still give you the benefit of doubt. Our expectations are banking on your decisions and crack shooting Sir.  I know you are working overtime and very hard but when you fire let it be “ek goli ek dushman” (One bullet one enemy). What bullet you got to fire and who is the dushman I leave it to you to figure out. Have you understood my message? I wonder!!!!!!!

JAI HIND

JAITLEYs BREW

My views on the FMs press conference after the GST council meet

 

My dear Mr Jaitley

I have been thinking of you lately

The financial jiggrey-poggrey you do

Which only you and your staff know

Leaves the common man wondering hopelessly

 

The tax burden is such

The common man can’t do much

Except paying and shutting shop immediately

 

Your intelligent looks

Would shake any crook

To give what he took

To sew or to cook

Or else get booked indiscriminately

 

But tell me one thing

The surprises you spring

Are they meant to stream line

The sales and buying

Or is it to torture us financially

 

The traders are unsure

To follow rules or wait some more

For you to make up your mind

To save them from the grind

Which may leave them broke ultimately

 

The concoction you brew

In your kettle which isn’t new

Is giving everyone the aches at wrong places

So decide once for all

What tax is for what all

Rather leaving everyone conjecturing seamlessly.

 

The GST appears to be a pain

We don’t know will it be a boon or a bane

But one thing is pucca

The way you are giving jhatkas

The public is going insane

 

You demonetised we bore

GST added to the woes

To lump it or dump it

Left no choice with 125 crore

 

Be nice to us Mr Jaitely

Your decisions off lately

Are screwing the common man galore

Kindly give no more spins

Let us see achhe din

And be grateful to this nation immensely

 

JAI HIND

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